While most Americans are aware there is a nationwide drug epidemic, opioid drugs tend to take the spotlight. However, meth has become a growing problem in the United States, leading many people to lose their health and lives.
Methamphetamine is a potent stimulant with a high potential for abuse, quickly creating a psychological and physical dependence even if people only take it for a short time. Despite the known dangers of meth use, people may experiment with it because they’re curious about how it might make them feel. Some people also start taking meth because it is typically less expensive and easier to obtain than other illicit drugs.
The Dangers of Meth Abuse
Like all stimulants, meth creates euphoric feelings by acting on the brain’s reward and pleasure center. Meth remains present in the body and brain for longer periods, where it can do more damage. Because this drug’s effects can last up to 24 hours, people who take it can stay awake and alert for several days.
While meth is in someone’s system, they may experience agitation, mood swings, chest pains, irritability and hallucinations. After the drug wears off and their dopamine level returns to normal, they will experience a one- to three-day crash period characterized by fatigue, depression and drug cravings.
When people take too much meth, the resulting overdose can cause convulsions, seizures, organ failure or a heart attack. These can be fatal without immediate medical attention.
Red Flags of Meth Abuse
A meth addiction can progress rapidly until it takes over someone’s life. Often, people in the grip of an active addiction become very secretive, going to great lengths to hide their drug problem from others. Still, you can usually spot several telltale signs if you are observant. Knowing what to look for can help you identify when a loved one’s meth use is out of control, so you can encourage them to seek treatment.
If you notice someone you care about is not sleeping, acting erratically, taking dangerous risks or withdrawing from friends and family, these could be warning signs of drug abuse. Meth users may also experience mounting financial, legal and relationship problems as their substance use grows worse.
Prolonged meth use causes marked changes in people’s appearance, including dramatic weight loss, tooth decay, thinning hair and sores from repeatedly scratching or picking at the skin. You may also notice some behavioral warning signs as meth use increasingly becomes a priority in someone’s life. For instance, they may lose interest in formerly enjoyable hobbies, neglect their personal hygiene, be prone to violent outbursts or carelessly leave their drug paraphernalia lying around. Should you find items like needles, glass pipes, spoons or tiny plastic baggies in their home or car, it is time to urge your loved one to seek help.
California’s Leading Addiction Treatment Center
At Pillars Recovery, we offer compassionate, lifesaving addiction treatment to people struggling to quit using meth or other harmful substances. Since we know how uncomfortable and sometimes painful withdrawal can be, we provide medication-assisted treatment to manage the worst symptoms until our clients achieve the stability necessary to move into the next phases of their recovery. To learn more about how we can help you or someone close to you, reach out to us today.